The Project Cars games were gorgeous, detail-obsessed, and at first partly crowd-sourced. Then in 2019 Codemasters bought developers Slightly Mad Studios and in 2021 Electronic Arts bought Codemasters. Now EA have announced internally that they won't be making any more Project Cars games, and that they will move staff working on the series into "suitable" roles "wherever [they] can."
"Today we announced internally an update to our racing portfolio. Following an evaluation of the next Project CARS title and its longer-term growth potential, we have made the decision to stop further development and investment for the franchise," EA said in a statement given to GamesIndustry.biz today.
"Decisions like these are very hard, but allow us to prioritise our focus in areas where we believe we have the strongest opportunity to create experiences that fans will love. We are focusing on our strengths in our racing portfolio, particularly licensed IP and open-world experiences, and expanding our franchises to be more socially-led with long-term live services that will engage global communities. Games are at the heart of sports and racing entertainment, and with shifting fan expectations, we recognise the need to evolve our games beyond pure play, providing experiences for fans to also watch, create and connect with their friends.
"We are working with everyone impacted by this decision to place them into suitable roles across our EA Sports and racing portfolio, as well as other parts of EA, wherever we can. Our priority now is on providing as much support as possible to our people through this transition."
This is, of course, what happens as a result of games industry consolidation. Studios that may have been successful in their own right - successful enough to acquire! - are deemed surplus to requirements when part of a larger organisation with an already heavy load of racing games. That means less competition in the field and less choice for players.
Earlier this year, Project Cars 1 and 2 were delisted from Steam due to expiring track and car licenses. All that remains of Slightly Mad's work is the poorly received Project Cars 3 on Steam and a dim memory of that time they announced they were making their own console called the "Mad Box".